Tipster

Travel Tips Around The World

May 5 2017

Lively music and plenty of pints: A pub crawl in Galway, Ireland

It should come as no surprise that Galway, Ireland is home to great nightlife: The country is covered in pubs, and the presence of a major university, plus a reputation as a hotbed for traditional music make Galway one of the best places to embark on a pub crawl. Anywhere you go in the city, you can generally rely on a friendly atmosphere, good pints and whiskeys, and pub fare that ranges from serviceable to excellent, plus many offer live music nightly. These are a few pubs that we think stand out in Galway for their notable food, lengthy whiskey lists and stellar music.

                                               

                                      The facade of the King's Head Pub; photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The King's Head is one of the oldest pubs in Galway—it's been in operation since the 1600s, but the building dates from the 13th century—and it also happens to serve one of the city's finest menus of pub fare. The burger and fish and chips are recommended, but the menu is varied and offers several homey, traditional Irish plates, too. Great Guinness and an ample whiskey list, along with friendly staff and a comfortable, low-key vibe make this place a must-visit. Like all great Irish pubs, it hosts live music every night of the week.

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Oct 14 2016

A bar crawl in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, has a happening bar scene, with cheap drinks and a friendly mix of tourist and expat imbibers—and at many places, the party lasts all night long. Don't expect a ton of glamour (with a few exceptions, mainly in hotels), but be prepared for potentially raucous fun. These are some of our favorite places in Phnom Penh for letting loose; to explore further, just walk down Street 51, where bars abound.

                            Refinement and luxury at The Elephant Bar; photo courtesy of the Lorrie Graham Blog.

The Elephant Bar. For true luxury in the Phnom Penh drinking scene, visit The Elephant Bar, located inside the Raffles Hotel le Royal. Drinks are certainly more expensive than in other parts of the city, but quality is high, and the ambience is elegant. Elephant decor abounds, right down to the glasses that cocktails are served in. The food is excellent and the drinks are stellar—this is definitely the place to pamper yourself after a long day on Phnom Penh's busy streets.

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Sep 22 2016

Chicago Neighborhood Profile: Logan Square

Most visitors to Chicago only make it outside of the Loop (our name for downtown) to head to the Southside for the Museum of Science and Industry, or maybe to head a little bit north to Wrigley Field; and that's a real shame, because our city is vibrant, diverse and full of incredible experiences, many of the best of which are outside the tourist hubs. If you want to escape the endless hordes of people on Michigan Avenue, hop the CTA Blue Line for twenty minutes and get off at either the California or Logan Square stops, and you'll find yourself in Logan Square, the most up-and-coming area in the city, jam-packed with award-winning bars and restaurants. Here are some of my favorite dining, drinking and shopping spots in my neighborhood. 

                        

                                     The signature dish at Logan Square's Fat Rice. Photo via Bon Appetit.

Dining. Some of the most exciting and unique dining experiences in the city reside in Logan Square. My favorite is Fat Rice, which serves Macau cuisine—Macau was a Portuguese trading outpost in China where many cultures blended, producing a one-of-a-kind fusion cuisine. You'll find dumplings and pork buns along with traditional Portuguese drinks such as caipirinhas, but the real star is the titular dish, the fat rice, which is a rice pot loaded with clams, prawns, a variety of sausages and porks, and hardboiled eggs (it'll feed two to four people). It's basically a treasure trove that you eat. Get a reservation, because I was once told on a Thursday evening that it was a two-and-a-half-hour wait for a party of two. (Tip: Fat Rice has a bakery next door where you can buy a wide variety of buns (they even have a Chicago-style hot dog bun, if you're feeling brave) and coffee and tea that's open during the day.)

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Jun 9 2015

Asheville, NC: Seeing the City the Way Locals Do

Asheville, NC has long been associated with tourism: the area that was once chock full of sanitariums for the recovery of the rich and famous (like Zelda Fitzgerald) is now the playground of well-to-do New Yorkers and Californians searching out an artistic, bohemian vibe in a small mountain city. Exploring downtown Asheville is a must, and it's great fun to have a drink at the Grove Park Inn and take in the spectacular view from the terrace, but we suggest stepping outside of the mainstays of touristdom and see the city a little more like a local. There's great beer, food, music and nature to be found in Asheville: here are our top picks.

              

 The building that houses The Wedge is right across the street from the French Broad River. Photo courtesy of AshevilleNow.com.

The Wedge Brewing Company. The Wedge is a cultural institution of Asheville in more ways than one: It is on its own a fantastic brewery, well worth the trip considering its brews can be found nowhere else; it serves as the anchor for the building it occupies, which is filled with artists' studios and sits right on the French Broad River; and, it almost always has some delicious food trucks out front and in summer it shows movies outside. Maybe the best part of the location? Right across the street is an access point for the French Broad, which is a great place for tubing. We recommend hopping in the river there (there are several tube rental spots nearby, or you can bring your own) and floating down for a mile or two until you reach an exit point at the Bywater, an outdoor bar with local beers on tap and plenty of grills open to the public (bring your own food, and feel free to bring the kids—the bar sits on a whole acre of land).

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Apr 22 2015

Exploring Paris' Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter of Paris is known as the heart of bohemian intellectualism—this is the area where you could once find Sartre, de Beauvoir and Camus sipping Pernod and talking philosophy. Though it is now largely a tourist area, it still bustles with the activity of students and free spirits, and it should not be overlooked by serious travelers. It is best to explore this section of the city as a flaneur—wander the streets, see the people, stop into any cafe or bookstore that interests you. This is one of those areas that is meant to be seen without the heavy burden of sightseeing—though it is close to Notre Dame and the excellent Archaeological Crypt of Parvis of Notre Dame. Try to spend at least an afternoon in the Quartier Latin. To get you started, here are a few of our favorite spots.

The Cluny Museum. This museum focuses on all things medieval, and that goes for everything from its structure (it's a former cloister built in the 15th century atop the ruins of the former Roman baths) to its contents. A standout museum in Paris, it is the perfect spot for art and history lovers. There you can see The Lady and the Unicorn, perhaps the most famous tapestry ever created.

                           

                                 The Lady and The Unicorn tapestry; photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Feb 24 2014

Milan's dazzling nightlife scene

Category: Destinations | NightlifeMegan Leader @ 04:25

Italy's edgy fashion capital, Milan, is full of surprises at every turn. From innovative dining to exquisite architecture and designer boutiques, this is one city that won't bore you. And while you might expect Italy's nightlife to consist mostly of intimate enotecas and trattorias, Milan offers a breadth of Italian classics as well as out-of-the-box bars and live music venues. Here are just a few of our favorites.

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Nov 13 2013

Shanghai, the sprawling city of neon

Most cities murmur with activity. Shanghai screams it from the edge of every towering building, every neon-blurred billboard and every swarming, labyrinthine street. For those seeking a travel destination that transcends the monotonous grind of the tourist industry and the plethora of money traps, this gargantuan city has everything to offer. More...

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Sep 9 2013

5 top picks from Moscow's decadent nightlife scene

Category: NightlifeMegan Leader @ 07:32
Moscow has truly come into its own during the past 20 years, and although Russia's capital is still known for its rich history and striking architecture, its surprisingly sophisticated nightlife scene attracts visitors from throughout Europe and around the world.
 
Whether you're a bass-seeking rave enthusiast or a scholarly type who prefers to discuss philosophy over hard liquor in a smoky lounge, Moscow has ample nightlife options to suit your taste. Here are five establishments that top our list of favorites in Moscow.

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Aug 9 2013

Wining and dining in Atlanta

Category: Destinations | Dining | NightlifeChristine @ 04:14

Atlanta is a dining destination like no other. Besides the abundance of delicious and authentic southern cooking, there are so many ethnicities represented as well as lots of old-meets-new southern-fusion options. And I’m lucky enough to live in this foodie paradise, where no two meals are ever the same. More...

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Jun 20 2013

When planning what to do in Phoenix, don't overlook surrounding area attractions

A whole conglomeration of towns and cities make up the Phoenix metro area. Many of the area's significant sights are actually located in these surrounding communities, so be sure to include them on your itinerary when you plan your next trip to the city. More...

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